Throughout the past few decades, the global gaming industry has reached new, unprecedented heights. This progression is evident within Africa’s sector-related statistics. According to a study by Mordor Intelligence, the continent’s gaming market is forecast to register a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent between 2020 and 2025. It is predicted that there will be significant progress revolving around mobile platforms in particular.
While there are many reasons behind the region’s recent rise to prominence from a gaming standpoint, ensuring locality is undoubtedly one of Africa’s central objectives. Not only does this apply from a development perspective, but it’s also true of the developers’ target audience bases. So, let’s take a look at Zambia’s game-related emergence and consider Africa’s growth more generally.
Africa’s Broader Role in Modern-Day Gaming
In recent times, Africa’s involvement in numerous industries has become increasingly significant. Alongside football – where the Super Eagles of Nigeria have raised the sport’s profile – gaming is another sector that has reached new levels of popularity during the 21st century. Interestingly, the continent’s ever-growing role as a go-to destination for modern-day video games is indicative of this. While Africa boasts a proud, local gaming community, it’s hard to ignore the sheer volume of developers that have sought to integrate various African environments into their titles.
Following its release in January 2009, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier is one of the very few video games that features Zambia as a playable location. The plot sees the futuristic title’s protagonist travel to a refugee camp in the country to engage in combat with various in-game enemies. Outside of Zambia, other world-renowned creators have also set their games in Africa, including Far Cry 2, which takes place in the center of Africa. Moreover, Africa has also been featured in a host of strategic titles, such as Rome: Total War and Total War: Attila.
Furthermore, it’s also a testament to the continent’s expanding gaming industry that diverse markets have been embraced. For example, in South Africa, online casinos have added more options to the country’s game-oriented offerings. Across many of the top online casinos in South Africa, players can experience a host of casino-inspired games. These offerings include live-dealer developments and slots at various bonus-offering operators, including Africasino. From the likes of Far Cry 2 to slot games, Africa is growing an impressive and varied gaming portfolio.
Hands-On Approach to Game Development
As touched upon above, Zambia’s progression throughout the 21st century somewhat relates to the rising numbers of local developers. At the time of writing, numerous Zambian-made video games are available on the market. As per Techtrends, Trevor Sinkala has sought to exploit the surging popularity of the mobile sector. His religious-themed, brain-teasing titles have been downloaded over 100,000 times on the Google Play Store since he became active in game development back in 2014. The undeniable appeal of his phone-friendly games is a testament to the growth of smartphone gaming within Zambia and Africa.
Aside from exploring the potential of the mobile sector, other Zambian-based creators have targeted the PC market. Developed and published by Relentless Studios, Save Our Souls – Episode 1 was released in March 2017. The project was created by Martin Kalimukwa in Unreal Engine 4, according to the developer’s profile at Artstation. The third-person, apocalyptic-themed title takes place in an array of different environments, there are also varied in-game elements, including enemies, vehicles, and weapons.
However, while local development is on the rise, perhaps the most significant breakthrough in African gaming is on the horizon. GamesIndustry.biz reports that mainstream platforms – such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Steam, and many more – don’t often help local gamers find African-themed titles. This struggle has resulted in the creation of homegrown retail platforms like Bonako Games Arena. In the future, this forward-thinking step will aim to bridge the gap in commercialization in providing a route to newly-released titles that cater to the demands of local audiences.
A Sector Longing for Better Marketing Platforms
Ultimately, there can be no doubt that the gaming industry in Africa has the foundations in place to make significant forward steps in the coming years. With a plethora of local talent seeking to break into the market, progression from a commercialization standpoint could be the catalyst in taking African creations to mainstream audiences. With locality at its very core, the continent will continue to stay true to its roots in its strive for sectoral growth.